In 2015, the United Nations member states came together and created 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, and set a target to achieve them by 2030. If we achieve all of these goals by then, the world would be…perfect.
But here’s the thing. These are big goals. Really big goals. Ending poverty is no small feat, so we really need to work together if we’re going to get there. Here’s where you come in. Small actions add up and if you’re making the right choices and doing the right things everyday, we’ll get a little closer.
And that’s where we come in-we’re making it easier for you to know what those choices are. Every single one of our articles aligns with at least one goal. You might not be able to end poverty single-handedly, but if you’re traveling responsibly and making purchases from companies who are employing women living in poverty, you’re helping to move the needle. Here’s a little breakdown of the goals and how tourism can help achieve them.
SDG 1: NO POVERTY
The international poverty line is US$1.90 a day. That’s less than your morning latte. Most people living below the poverty line belong to two regions: Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which is why you’ll see that several of the companies we cover are creating jobs for people in these regions.
SDG 2: ZERO HUNGER
Newsflash-there’s enough food in the world to feed everyone. There’s no reason why anyone should be going hungry. It all comes down to the distribution of resources and access. It’s time to rethink how you grow, share and consume your food by supporting local farmers or markets and making sustainable food choices, supporting good nutrition for all, and fighting food waste.
SDG 3: GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING
This one is pretty straightforward: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Access to health care is a major challenge for people around the world, but a job provides money that can pay for things like health care that leads to well-being, that’s why tourism in rural areas can make a huge difference.
SDG 4: QUALITY EDUCATION
Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. If everyone has access to a solid educational foundation, it makes it easier to achieve many of the other goals. Increasing awareness of different cultures is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.
SDG 5: GENDER EQUALITY
Empower all women and girls. They face more barriers than anyone. Economically empowering women has been proven to lead to better outcomes for the whole community because they spend their money on things like healthcare and education, addressing several of the Global Goals.
SDG 6: CLEAN WATER & SANITATION
To survive, we need access to clean water. There is enough fresh water on the planet to do this, but for various reasons, millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene. In short, don’t waste water or pollute.
SDG 7: AFFORDABLE & CLEAN ENERGY
It’s easy for many of us to take electricity for granted. We flip on the light switch and there it is. But for much of the world, it isn’t that easy. We need to invest more in reliable, sustainable and affordable energy. When traveling, conserve energy and go solar powered as much as you can.
SDG 8: DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH
People need jobs, dignified jobs, so they can earn enough and get out of poverty, educate their children and pay for health care. See how that works? Everything is all connected. Our favorite jobs are the ones in sustainable tourism that promote local cultures and products, supporting the Global Goals.
SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
This goal is all about access. Access to basic infrastructure like roads, electrical power, phone and mobile broadband services. We can’t have sustained growth if people don’t have access to resilient infrastructure and technological innovation.
SDG 10: REDUCED INEQUALITIES
Global inequality affects us all, no matter who we are or where we’re from. Problems and challenges (poverty, climate change, migration, economic crises, etc.) are never just confined to one country or region. Traveling sustainably and cross-cultural understanding can help mitigate some inequalities.
SDG 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES & COMMUNITIES
When it comes to tourism, we need to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. In emerging regions, it’s crucial to support (financially and technically) sustainable and resilient buildings, utilizing local materials.
SDG 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION
There are two main ways to help: reduce your waste and be more thoughtful about what you buy by choosing sustainable options whenever possible. Use your consumer dollars to vote for socially conscious goods that are made sustainably and put pressure on businesses to adopt sustainable practices and support the Global Goals.
SDG 13: CLIMATE ACTION
Climate change is caused by human activities and is threatening the way we live and the future of our planet. Severe weather and rising sea levels are a legitimate effect of climate change. Travel can have a massive impact on the planet, which is why it needs to become more sustainable as a whole.
SDG 14: LIFE BELOW WATER
Oceans provide key natural resources including food, medicines, biofuels and other products. They help with the breakdown and removal of waste and pollution, and their coastal ecosystems act as buffers to reduce damage from storms. Making small changes in your daily life, like taking public transport, eliminating plastic usage and unplugging electronics saves energy. These actions reduce your carbon footprint, a factor that contributes to rising sea levels.
SDG 15: LIFE ON LAND
The goal here is to take care of nature. Some things you can do to help include recycling, eating a locally-based diet that is sustainably sourced, consuming only what you need and limiting energy usage through efficient heating and cooling systems. When traveling, make sure you support responsible and ethically run ecotourism companies that respect nature and wildlife.
SDG 16: PEACE, JUSTICE & STRONG INSTITUTIONS
People everywhere need to be free of fear from all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives whatever their ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation. It’s that simple.
SDG 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
We need to work together. Let’s do this.